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Jumping shipPosted Wednesday, August 15, 2007, at 4:53 PM
Just as we here at the Times-Gazette have added a number of individual blogs, WKRN-TV in Nashville, which had been a leader in the field, is dropping many of theirs -- or vaguely promising to roll them all into a single blog.
Just a few months ago, WKRN could have been considered one of the leaders in traditional media use of blogs. Many of its individual reporters and anchors had blogs, and the station's blog aggregator, Nashville is Talking, had become the focus of an active blogging community in Middle Tennessee.
Then, Mike Sechrist, the station manager who had overseen many of WKRN's new media initiatives, including its conversion from two-man news-gathering teams to lone "VJs," left the station, and at about the same time, Brittney Gilbert, who had been the moderator of Nashville is Talking, left as well. A group of independent bloggers started Music City Bloggers, an aggregator which stole some of NiT's thunder. The station promises that NiT is going to be reformulated and re-launched, but many bloggers seem to think that the new version will be much more automated.
Today, visitors to several WKRN blogs were greeted by identical posts written, not by the normal blogger, but by a WKRN staffer, saying that WKRN plans to reduce the number of blogs and that WKRN staffers will be posting to something called "WKRN News Extra" instead of to their own individual blogs. (See an example of the post here at what had been religion reporter Jamey Tucker's blog.)
WKRN still plans to re-launch NiT and it still has its active political blog aggregator, Volunteer Voters, which is overseen by A.C. Kleinheider, as well as a few other blogs.
The trouble with WKRN News Extra is that, from the sounds of things, it will be exclusively news-related. I agree with popular blogger Busy Mom's comment at Music City Bloggers that this system loses the personal appeal of individual blogs. The Nashville Scene did a feature last year about meteorologist Jeff Ray and his blog, which focused on a wide range of topics having nothing to do with the weather.
I fear that WKRN is on the verge of squandering the advantage it had earned in the world of new media.
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John I. Carney is city editor of the Times-Gazette.
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